A sad re­flec­tion on all

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - TARA BRADY

Mind-numb­ing pix­els: Mia Wasikowska as Alice

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOK­ING GLASS Di­rected by James Bobin. Star­ring Johnny Depp, Anne Hath­away, Mia Wasikowska, Rhys Ifans, He­lena Bon­ham Carter, Sacha Baron Co­hen, Alan Rick­man, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Ti­mothy Spall. Cert PG, gen re­lease, 112mins Alice Through the Look­ing Glass is, al­legedly, an adap­ta­tion of Lewis Caroll’s 1871 novel of the same name. But in com­mon with its pre­de­ces­sor, Tim Bur­ton’s Alice in Won­der­land, the source ma­te­rial has not been adapted so much as plun­dered and looted for a themed col­lec­tion of costumes, make-up and set de­sign. Thus, we get the mir­ror cross­ing, liv­ing chess pieces and the Jab­ber­wocky plus en­core turns from the first film’s high-end ac­tion fig­ures. And so much less.

Bur­ton has not re­sumed di­rec­to­rial du­ties: that task has, in­stead, fallen to James Bobin. If any ad­di­tional proof were needed to demon­strate that film­mak­ers are not al­lowed to make films when those films are $170 mil­lion SFX dog-and-ponyshows, it is the ‘pres­ence’ of Mr Bobin, who brought such fun to the re­cent Mup­pets re­boot.

There is, alas, no fun to be had with this soul­less, cor­po­rate se­quel. A ram­shackle col­lec­tion of oc­cu­larly-chal­leng­ing CG set-pieces, Alice Through the Look­ing Glass be­gins on the digi­tised high seas with the proto (or pos­si­bly faux) fem­i­nist Alice (Wasikowska, com­pletely wasted) in swash­buck­ling mode. The set-piece ends and she re­turns home to Eng­land where her mother (Lind­say Dun­can) now lan­guishes in gen­teel poverty and where Alice’s for­mer spurned fi­ance has bought her ship. Or is about to buy her ship. Or some­thing.

Lured by the voice of the late Alan Rick­man, our hero­ine tum­bles through a mir­ror, hi­jacks a time ma­chine and sets out to heal the Oedi­pal woes of Mad Hat­ter (Johnny Depp), who is dy­ing but not quickly enough, and the Red Queen (He­lena Bon­ham Carter).

Jeremy Kyle-friendly tri­als and rev­e­la­tions fol­low as the Red and White Queens reen­act a plot that looks aw­fully like the one in Wicked. Mean­while, Alice is pur­sued by Time (Sasha Baron Co­hen) through her world of mind-numb­ing pix­els un­til time, ac­cord­ingly, loses all mean­ing in the view­ers’ world.

To be fair, the first film was no masterpiece, but its bil­lion­dol­lar haul at the box of­fice sug­gests that it had some­thing to rec­om­mend it. Six years on and the world has tired of Johnny Depp in weirdo make-up while the 3D fam­ily-rated fea­ture is no longer a nov­elty.

Some things, how­ever, never go out of fash­ion: like sym­pa­thetic char­ac­ters and co­her­ent sto­ry­telling. Alice Through the Look­ing Glass has nei­ther. MON ROI/MY KING Di­rected by Maïwenn. Star­ring Vin­cent Cas­sel, Em­manuelle Ber­cot, Louis Gar­rel, Isild Le Besco, Chrys­tele Saint-Louis Au­gustin, Pa­trick Ray­nal, Paul Hamy. Club, IFI, Dublin, 128 min Em­manuelle Ber­cot won best ac­tress at last year’s Cannes Fes­ti­val for her turn in this film, which, though dis­or­dered and over­wrought, has things to say about the stub­born way we cling to un­promis­ing ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships. She de­serves the gong. Vin­cent Cas­sel, al­ways happy to fling fur­ni­ture about the place, is equally good as the ob­ject of her af­fec­tion and cause of her un­ease. Still, it’s never quite clear why Ber­cot’s Tony sticks with Cas­sel’s solip­sis­tic restau­ra­teur Ge­or­gio for quite so long. Peo­ple do, I guess.

We be­gin with Tony re­cov­er­ing from a ski­ing ac­ci­dent that might not be en­tirely an ac­ci­dent. We then flash­back to find the cou­ple meet­ing in a

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